Hallmarks of the hepadnavirus replication cycle are the formation of covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) and the reverse transcription of a pregenomic RNA (pgRNA) in core particles leading to synthesis of the relaxed circular DNA (rcDNA) genome. cccDNA, the template for viral RNA transcription, is the basis for the persistence of these viruses in infected hepatocytes. In this review, we summarize the current state of knowledge on the mechanisms of hepadnavirus reverse transcription and the biochemical and structural properties of the viral reverse transcriptase (RT). We highlight important gaps in knowledge regarding cccDNA biosynthesis and stability. In addition, we discuss the impact of current antiviral therapies on viral persistence, particularly on cccDNA.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)